Maybe you have a curious cat that loves to chew, stopping you from adding greenery around your home. But did you know that there are plenty of good reasons to have houseplants in your home apart from producing fresh oxygen for you and your furry friend? In this article, we outline the 20 best plants for cats that are safe and non-toxic to their health, all of which also add a touch of color to your home while being easy to maintain.
What is Cat Grass?
If you feel that your cat needs more nutrition through vitamins and minerals as a result of eating only meat-based meals, cat grass can be a great addition to your cat’s diet. However, cat grass isn’t a specific plant; it’s actually a mixture of seeds that include barley, wheat, rye, and oats. This mixture contains a lot of folic acid, which can help the smooth flow in your cat’s bloodstream.
Non-Toxic Plants for Your Cats
Here are some options you can look into that are both safe for cats and will add a touch of color to your home. Just remember that all cats are different, so they will have different reactions according to the amount they might ingest and whether they have allergies to plants.
1. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
Spider plants are among the most cat-friendly plants you can place in your house. Because this plant is versatile, they are a favorite among cat parents and plant lovers, plus they’re very easy to grow. These pretty plants do best in bright, indirect light, and only require minimal watering — if your cat does decide to take a bite out of it, you’ll be happy to know that it will grow baby plants and new leaves quickly.
2. African Violet (Streptocarpus sect. Saintpaulia)
Dubbed the world’s best-blooming houseplant, the African Violet is also known as the cape marigold, this small flowering plant is safe for cats and great for smaller homes since they only grow up to 12 inches. They come in pink and purple coloration, favoring average humidity, and moderate temperatures, and will bloom in low light. This plant also does well without bright light, so be sure to keep them in your bedroom or a corner of your home where they get indirect sunlight.
3. Zebra Cactus (Haworthiopsis Attenuata)
This small type of succulent is safe for cats and is a popular houseplant since not all succulents are pet-safe plants. The Zebra Cactus does well in indoor pots and are also easy to grow. Much like other succulent plants, this pet-friendly houseplant will thrive in bright sunlight, so it’s best to keep them next to the window or any place where they’ll be hit by the sun’s rays.
4. Zebra Plant (Calathea spp)
The Zebra plant has remarkable green leaves that bear striped leaf patterns that are often kept in large pots since they tend to grow bigger than your usual cat-safe plants. Because they’re not very fond of direct sun, this is the perfect plant to keep in a place where there’s plenty of shade. Keep in mind these plants are slow growers and will reach maturity in three years when it stands a few feet tall.
5. Venus Flytrap (Dionaea Muscipula)
While this option may come as a surprise, it’s actually a good choice for cat owners looking for a small plant to introduce to their pets. This plant is only a threat to insects and will grow well when placed inside soil with low nutrients. However, your feline friends may be tempted to play with these cute plants, so be sure to keep them in a safe location, out of reach from your cats.
6. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea Recurvata)
Called the Ponytail Palm, this plant looks exactly like sounds — like a ponytail, thanks to the large leaves that drape down from the stump. Fortunately, this plant only needs minimal care; it doesn’t need much fertilization, appreciates lots of sunlight, and tolerates dry soil. As such, it’s ideal for pet parents who travel a lot or those with little time to regularly care for their plants.
7. Friendship Plant (Pilea Involucrata)
This lively-looking plant does well inside terrariums; while this non-toxic plant is safe for cats, they won’t be able to play with them when kept inside one. It gets its name from its ability to be easily split apart and given away to your friends, where they’ll be able to propagate quickly. They’re also low maintenance and won’t grow too big, so it’s a good idea to keep them on bedside tables or shelves.
8. Rattlesnake Plant (Goeppertia Insignis)
The Rattlesnake Plant is a tropical plant with beautiful leaves that display a distinct shape and spotted pattern. This pet-friendly plant is found in Brazil and is grown and used as a common houseplant. Like other options in this list, they need little light and water and will provide a great focal point in any room.
9. Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica)
In their native home of Central and South America, the Money Tree can grow up to 60 feet tall, but inside our homes, these safe indoor plants will typically reach just 6 feet. It’s said that they bring good luck, and will grow quickly when given moist soil along with partial or full sunlight. This beautiful plant grows upright and forms glossy leaves, as well as a braided stem, making them a great choice for pet owners looking for a safe houseplant.
10. Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides)
The Chinese Money Plant belongs to the Pilea genus, which contains many other plants such as the Friendship Plant and Aluminum Plant. Native to select provinces in Southern China, it’s also known by its other common names such as pancake plant, UFO plant, and missionary plant. This plant is considered to be non-toxic to pets and can be a great addition to homes with indoor cats.
11. Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes Phyllostachya)
Sometimes known as the freckle face plant, the Polka Dot Plant is known for its brightly colored leaves. It is often sprayed with pink, white, or red splashes of color, although purple leaves also appear, making it rather eye-catching for an indoor plant. Best planted during spring, it grows well in warm areas with high humidity and partial shade and will be a great new plant to add to your cat garden.
12. Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium Nidus)
This gorgeous green plant is known for its big, spoon-shaped leaves — while they’re usually seen in rainforests, they can be grown indoors all year. While it’s best to keep them inside humid locations such as the bathroom, they will also need a bit of light. When looking for a slow-growing plant, these are among the best options, where they can grow fronds up to two feet in length.
13. Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia Obtusifolia)
Another succulent, the baby rubber plant can be one of the best options to add to a home with curious cats that will often bite and chew random things. Their fleshy, glossy, and spoon-shaped leaves are both pretty to look at and completely safe for cats and dogs as stated by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). These flowering plants will occasionally produce small white to green flowers that aren’t too showy.
14. Areca Palm (Dypsis Lutescens)
If you want fresh, clean air to breathe at home as well as a plant that’s safe for your kitties, then look no further than the Areca Palm. While palms are generally considered to be dangerous plants for pets (such as the Sago Palm), this is among the best plants that can provide a healthier alternative. Growing up to 6 to 12 feet, this plant can brighten up your room as long as you provide it with direct light and moist soil.
15. Air Plants (Tillandsia)
These have grown in popularity over the last few years, and are now more readily available than ever. Growing no bigger than 12 inches, Air Plants are low maintenance and can be mounted anywhere in your home. They can be soaked in water weekly and will do best in indirect light — plus, they aren’t poisonous plants to cats so you don’t have to worry about accidental ingestion.
16. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
This festive plant originates in Brazil and can grow during any time of the year when taken indoors — during its growing season, you can expect to see blooms at the start of winter. Unlike many other holiday plants, the Christmas Cactus isn’t toxic to cats, but you should still discourage them from eating these since it may lead to stomach upset. These plants can be displayed from a hanging basket where you can expect to see blooms of white, pink, purple, and magenta or the uncommon colors of orange, peach, and salmon.
17. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata)
Also known as the Sword Fern, the Boston Fern is a popular plant that can grow in various tropical climates all over the world. Because it doesn’t require much sunlight, it’s considered to be a houseplant that’s easy to care for and is also a pet-safe option. However, keep in mind that they shed quite a bit, so they will drop small blue-green leaflets around the floor if your cat gets close or plays with them.
18. Silver Vine, Catnip, and Cat Thyme
Each of these plants is not only safe for your cats but is actually healthy for them — they act as stimulants for cats, dramatically boosting their mood and lowering stress levels. While catnip is the most well-known herb for cats, not all will respond to it; only two-thirds of all cats will react to catnip, while silver vine will affect around 80% of cats. If you can’t find catnip or silver vine, you may want to give cat thyme a go, but not everyone will like the way it smells.
- 100% organically grown catnip that’s free from pesticides and chemicals
- Contains a quality blend of flower tops and leaves for high potency
- Can be added to food that will make it irresistible to cats
- Comes in a tub or resealable bag to maintain freshness
Complete your cat’s day with just a pinch of Yeowww! Organic Catnip is harvested only from the best catnip with the highest quality. This signature blend contains superior catnip in terms of overall taste, aroma, and color, without any chemicals or pesticides used for its cultivation. This effective catnip is safe for both humans and their cats, so be sure to sprinkle some onto your feline’s favorite cat toys, scratchers, and food!
- Engage and entice your fur baby with this pure catnip and silver vine mix
- Each batch is refined and tested to ensure that it’s completely safe for your cat
- Silvervine is a great alternative for cats that aren’t drawn to catnip alone
- Proudly made in the USA and is 100% natural
With this Ultimate Catnip and Silver Vine Blend by From the Field, you can tempt your cat to become more active. With the combination of silver vine and catnip, it provides a more potent mix that may work for cats that don’t have a reaction to simple catnip. Because it’s grown and made in the USA, it’s been tested for safety and your kitty won’t be able to resist its natural freshness.
19. Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus Verticillatus)
Sometimes called Creeping Charlie, the Swedish Ivy doesn’t actually belong in the Ivy family despite its name and appearance. With beautiful foliage, you’ll love its green, round leaves with scalloped edges; it may also bloom tiny white or lavender flowers that have a fresh aroma. Because it’s easy to care for and is safe for pets, it’s the right plant to include in your home when you want your cat to safely roam around.
20. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii)
When you’re looking to bring positive energy into your home, the Bamboo Palm is a great choice. This popular houseplant is known to enhance indoor aesthetics and purify air inside homes, reducing harmful toxins such as benzene from the environment. However, be careful not to eat the fruits since they can be poisonous to both humans and pets — the good news is that this is the only part you need to stay away from.
The Best Plants for Cats in the Form of Essential Oils
Apart from the list of plants above, there are other pet-safe plants that you can look for such as the Prayer Plant, Staghorn Fern, Moth Orchid, Parlour Palm, and more. However, there are also other choices that might be worth a try if you want to use them in the form of essential oils, like Cat’s Claw, Chamomile, Calendula, Dandelion, and Echinacea. These plants can be used to provide solutions for a wide variety of skin conditions, including:
- Skin issues
- Excessive itching
- Feline allergies
- Skin irritation
Be sure to always talk to your veterinarian before using essential oils on your cat. Once your veterinarian gives you the green light, then you may use these as an alternative to their usual medications.
Toxic Houseplants that Should be Avoided
While there are plenty of gorgeous and vibrant house plants that you can take home, you need to know that many of them will bring potential danger to your cats, even if ingested in small amounts. Such toxic plants can lead to stomach upset, acute kidney failure, and death in some cases. Here is a list of all the houseplants that your cat won’t appreciate and is better off far away from your home:
- Snake plants
- Sago Palm
- Tulip bulbs
- Narcissus bulbs
- Castor bean
- Autumn crocus
- English ivy
All of these commonly used indoor plants may cause problems for your cat, including irritation to the mouth and throat, diarrhea, vomiting, heart issues, kidney issues, seizures, and death. The good thing is that now you know what to stay away from and why. As a responsible homeowner, it’s only natural for you to keep your fur baby away from things that may harm them.
Your cat is your best friend, and it should always feel comfortable in its environment and the home you both live in. Before bringing in an indoor plant, make sure that it’s safe for cats and will need minimal attention so you can give more to your furry pet. Ideally, the plant will be non-toxic to felines, won’t need much light, water, and care, and will add to you and your cat’s quality of life.